family dinner. 

My parents and my brother came down tonight to have dinner with J and me. My parents have been here before, but this was my brother’s first visit. I was really excited to host them. They don’t always visit much, and I appreciated them taking the time to come down. 
Dinner was supposed to be something simple, but there was an irresistable sale on ribs I couldn’t pass up. I unfortunatley didn’t get a picture of them, but they were delicious. And in an effort to stay simple, I simply seasoned them with Penzey’s BBQ 3000 and wrapped them in aluminum foil and placed them in the oven. Easy-peasy. After two hours, I unwrapped and brushed with Open Pit barbecue sauce. They were fall-off-the-bone good. 
And for our side, I did roasted veggies. Simple, and delicious. The most exciting part is for the first time, I used rainbow carrots. They were beautiful and I was so thankful to getting to serve them to my family. Check out these babies:

Dinner was great, but the company was better. My parents just took a bike trip in Baja, and I know my dad was so excited to show me some pictures from their trip. We air played them on the television and ate dessert together. Even Maggie came. 
It was a great night all around. I was happy to have everyone here, in my house, eating, drinking and being merry. It was a great Saturday night. I’m a lucky girl. 
J and I don’t have a dishwasher, and this was the aftermath: 


definitely a mess, but totally worth it. happy saturday, everyone. 

  

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sunday morning silliness. 

J and I have decided to do a 90 day no drinking cleanse. Why we decided to do it is still a mystery to me. School has been chaotic, J’s work is picking up, and the nightly glass of wine to relax and decompress has been greatly missed. 

However, after a bad day together yesterday, we agreed to allow ourselves a night to go out to dinner and enjoy a cocktail. And it was great. We had a very nice night out together, and enjoyed a refreshing beer while we were out. And this morning I feel rejuvinated and refreshed. It was much needed. 

And the best part about today is that J made breakfast, we sat on the couch and we just laughed all morning. My belly is aching from laughing. I think sometimes when we get caught in the game of trying to better ourselves and stick to our resolutions, we forget we still have a life to live beside that. It started out as a pretty rough weekend, and turned out to be a great one. 

Sometimes we just have to let ourselves live a little. Thanks, J, for helping me come back to life. 

 the breakfast remnants.  yum. 

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what is cooking?

I was listening to the Bon Apetite Foodcast today, and they were interviewing David Tamarkin about his January resolution to cook all his meals for the entirw month from scratch. Of course I’m intrigued. And in true foodie form, he has been posting his meals on Instagram for the viewing public. However, he stated he was often criticized for his cooking, and people left him comments about the food he was making amd how it wasn’t cooking. 

He took to Twitter asking people what their definition of cooking was. I’m fascinated by this question. He said that he often would breeze by breakfast and lunch without a problem, but dinner would often stress him out. I’m in the same boat with him. Why is it that we always stress ourselves out about what to serve for dinner? Being a single woman (in marital status only) I don’t feel that there should be all this pressure. Dinner is typically the family meal in American tradition, but in terms of health beneficial meals, it tends to fall to the bottom. Breakfast and lunch are the meals that fuel us thoughout the day. 

Over all I find the question of “what is cooking?” extremely interesting. It’s a question I have been asking of myself this year as wellas I start this 2016 health journey. I’m curious to know what you all think. And what is all the stress about dinner? I want an answer to that too. Let’s hear your thoughts!

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baby shower. 

My friend Jacqie is pregnant, and all my girls and I are so excited. My girlfriend Andrea, along with Jacqie’s work friend, Morgan were asked to host. Andrea and I got together for some planning, shopping and crafting though. 

Jacqie went with an interesting theme: travel. I feel like most baby showers I’ve been to are baby animals, duckies, pinks and blues. It was truly a classy, beautiful shower. 

Here are some photos of the final turn out:   the gift table, with a beautiful vintage map and little wooden suitcase boxes

 the diaper decorating table, for fun messages for the mom and dad to be   the fun pom poms made by yours truly

 the gifts for the game winners

diaper decorating close up
 the lovely buffet   let the adventure begin!

  Lucas lettering covered in old maps  
 and lastly, the mimosa bar. Yes, Jacqie would never deny her besties a good old fashioned cocktail, even if she ca’t participate. 

It was a blast. I’m so proud of Andrea and Morgan for putting on such a great party. And I’m so happy for Jacqie and Brian and their soon to be bundle of joy. 

Moms to be, for your baby shower, try something a little different. The turn out was fantastic!

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the saturday manicure. 

There comes a time in every woman’s life where they need to stop, take a break and relax. These moments seem to be coming every two to three weeks for me. My favorite activity to help me decompress, calm down, and feel more grounded is getting a manicure. 

I thank the person who invented the no-chip manicure. For my bi- to tri-weekly need, your invention fits the bill. There is something about primped and clean hands that makes me feel more relaxed, more confident, and totally refreshed. 

Today, it is much needed. I’ve been feeling the purples and deeper burgundy colors lately. Although, I have to admit I am so looking forward to my pale nudes of the summer.   

  
Ladies, if you’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or even bored, treat yourself. Head out for a manicure and enjoy the half hour of pampering. Your hands, and mental state, will thank you later. Enjoy!

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accolades.

Sometimes it’s easy to get wrapped up in the daily routines.  You go to work, put your head down and try your best.  With teaching, it’s easy to forget to breathe some days.  This entire year I have been working so hard to try to rebuild a curriculum that was only built for one teacher.  With the addition of a second language teacher, the process has been difficult.  Sometimes older dog’s don’t really learn new tricks.

But I’ve been giving it my all, and trying to reinvent an old, stale curriculum.  And most days I go home feel slightly defeated, very tired, and almost always like I’m never doing enough.  Our new principal gave all the new teachers to the district an assignment to go into each other’s classrooms and observe each other’s practices.  And today we met and shared out what we saw.

I’m a very open book about my classroom.  I believe in collaboration; the more the merrier.  So most of the new teachers came to my room to observe me.  I have never in my life felt so humbled by the things my colleagues said about me.  It was compliment after compliment, and it was so gratifying and reassuring to hear such wonderful things.  Getting lost in the commotion can sometimes force you to lose sight of yourself, but today really reassured me that the things I am doing are good things for kids.

And this isn’t Jenni brag-fest.  This is truly a heartfelt thank you to all those lovely people who make my job a fun place to be, who are also great teachers, and who challenge and push me everyday.  It’s a thank you to them for feeling that I do a good job, and seeing in me what I so often fail to see in myself.  I am so very proud of myself, and the building I work in.

Take a minute out of your day to compliment someone on a job well done.  It has turned my entire week around, and given me an energy boost I very desperately needed at this point in the year.  Acknowledge those around you who do good work, who brighten your day, and who inspire you.  It will make their day; take it from me.

 

Thank you, to all those lovely teachers.

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free cinnamon rolls. 

I’m sitting and one of my favorite coffee shops right now. Blackberry Market has a special going on today where they are giving away free cinnamon rolls. There’s not a person in the world-spare an allergy-who wouldn’t love these things. I made a special trip in today just to get one. And I used this time to get some grading done. The end of the quarter is near, and I want to get a jump start so I don’t spend hours after school. 

  
But I’m sitting here having a hard time concentrating. I’m sitting at the window (because it’s packed) and it’s a little cold. Snowflakes have started to fall outside. And the street outside is bustling with people dropping in to get their roll. I can’t really look away. It’s slightly picturesque, but things are nagging at me in the back of my mind. 
J and I were talking about some health stuff today. I finally decided it was time to find a dentist. It’s only been about a year since I’ve gone, but that nags at me. And after I got that all set up and made my appointment, I started thinking about how much work it is to really take care of yourself. After years and years of swimming my shoulder is kind of messed up. Lately, since I’ve been going back to the gym, it’s been giving me troubles. And I miss doing my yoga so much. It’s all just swimming around in my brain, and I can’t concentrate on my work right now. 
How is it we can make our lives easier on ourselves? What do we have to do? I’m feeling a little overwhelmed actually thinking about it. And where do we find the time? That’s the biggest question. 
One day at a time, Jenni. But at least I got my cinnamon roll today.  

cinnamon roll not pictured. see empty wrapper behind coffee mug–eaten way too fast.  

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